Knowledge helps women create a healthier and wealthier world

 United Nations Foundation’s Rajesh Mirchandani, McCann Global Health’s Briana Ferrigno, Girl Up’s Gloria Samen, Girl Up’s Anna Blue

United Nations Foundation’s Rajesh Mirchandani, McCann Global Health’s Briana Ferrigno, Girl Up’s Gloria Samen, Girl Up’s Anna Blue

 

Empowering and educating young women through targeted campaigns would lead to huge global health and economic rewards, a Lions session heard yesterday.

During the session Who Runs the World? Educated and Healthy Young Girls, panellist Gloria Samen said: “For me, health issues mean access to information and understanding what my options are in pursuing holistic wellness and how that differs in different countries and states.”

Samen, who is a teen advisor alumni at Girl Up, the United Nations-backed organisation set up to use education and communications to empower girls globally, added: “Health is personal and intimate and yet, at the same time, it is a public matter. As stigmas of all kinds decrease, more young women are able to communicate about these sensitive topics.”

Briana Ferrigno, president of McCann Global Health, said the world would not be to claim ignorance about some of the most devastating but preventable health issues when communications campaigns are effective.

“We have been working to increase options for HIV prevention and focused on access to PREP (HIV-prevention pill Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), which can reduce infection by up to 90%,” Ferrigno said.

“It puts prevention back into the hands of women, especially when they can’t negotiate for condom use. But before we can even introduce the communication campaigns in many countries, we need to ask the local girls what inspires them and what barriers they are confronting.”

Anna Blue, the co-executive director at Girl Up, added: “There is something powerful about girls standing up and speaking for other girls. When girls say that their generation should be better off, people pay attention to them in a different way.”

 

 
Harriet Palmer